A Spanish photography club has announced the winners of their Michio Hoshino Tribute contest, a photography competition organized to honor the late Japanese photographer. The Manlleu Camera Club awarded first prize to Catalan photographer Joan Masdeu, for the self portrait “Que poca cosa que sóm!”
Hoshino was known for his images of the Alaskan wilderness, and was a frequent visitor to the state. His friendship with Juneau author Lynn Schooler was the focus of Schooler’s book “The Blue Bear,” which was adapted into a play that debuted at Perseverance Theatre in January 2011.
Schooler acted as juror for the photo contest. According to Schooler, Masdeu’s photo of “the symbolism of man’s place in the vast sweep of the galaxy” deserved the first place award, adding that the selection process was a difficult one.
“Michio Hoshino once told me that every good photo should tell a story,” Schooler said to the contestants, according to a release from the camera club. “I found it exceedingly difficult to judge the work in the Manileu Camera Club’s Tribute to Michio Hoshino because so many of the entries do this so very well. From the symbolism of man’s place in the vast sweep of the galaxy to the busy, confined world of ants on a wire, each of the photographers represented here has brought us a fine story of what it means for humans and our fellow animals to be part of an environment. It has been a pleasure and I thank David Fajula and the Manileu Camera Club for the honor.”
In highlighting the message of conservation that often underlies wilderness imagery, Hoshino’s widow, Naoko Hoshino, said, “I appreciate so much that Manlleu Camera Club introduces Michio’s works to people in Europe. The relationship between nature and people was Michio’s theme.”
Second prize went to Rita Gómez’ “Churchill.”
“Hoshino has always been an inspiration to me,” said Gómez, who has visited Alaska and the Canadian Arctic many times.
Manlleu Camera Club vice-president David Fajula described the work done by his organization during the process.
“We all worked really hard for the past 10 months, having regular contact with Japan and Alaska, visiting embassies, talking to Hoshino’s friends and family, and looking for sponsors,” Fajula said. “But when you see people respond in a way (that is) so emotional, running a tribute more than 8,000 miles away from where Michio used to work, when you see that hundreds of people have been involved in a project like this, then you realize that the hard work has been successful.”
Fajula also said the Camera Club considers it a “wonderful coincidence” that Tokyo based Fujifilm Gallery started a retrospective exhibition one week after their ceremony.